Western Gazette (11 October 2015): Pupils who believed they would not achieve academic success have battled the odds and achieved their City and Guild qualifications during a ceremony at a Sherborne farm.
A group of 16 young people who have attended Future Roots in Holnest for the past couple of years were the centre of attention on Thursday, October 8, evening when family and staff at the farm came together to toast their success.
The farm is the vision of Julie Plumley, who believed the traditional education system was failing too many young people and set out to make a difference. Nine years on, she is the proud owner of a 16 acre farm near Sherborne, where she welcomes in school children for whom mainstream education is not working. They come from across Somerset and Dorset every week for a couple of hours and experience life working on a farm.
The work of Julie and her small team has once again paid off with 16 young people achieving City and Guild land based operations qualifications. In honour of their success a special presentation evening took place recognise their hard work.
Among those attending was Ed Catton, of Sherborne, who received a most improved award. The future farmer award was presented to Jordan Turner.
Ms Plumley said:
“These are the sort of students that people say will give up. It shows that when they are doing something they believe in they don’t give up. If you think about a whole year of farming with the cold and the difficult working conditions and the life and death that goes on with farming it’s a hard environment to cope with, yet they have shown that they have got determination, grit, good character and can work as part of a team work – all the things that they are often told they don’t have. It just goes to show that they have if it is the right environment.”
She also praised the efforts of many of the other young people who are still working towards their qualifications, but gave up their free time to volunteer at the farm’s annual country fair weekend held in mid September, presenting them each with a volunteer award. She said:
“They worked from nine o’clock in the morning until six o’clock in the evening, and everyone that saw them said how polite they were. It was such hard work and they were just brilliant. They had to work together as a team with pupils from other schools that they didn’t really know. All the public were saying how helpful they were.
“All of us here are really, really proud of all of the young people, and they have got to be proud of themselves because they have shown people who would have said they wouldn’t achieve anything that they have achieved something.”